Ed. Note: This is important. New Jersey is set to become the 2nd state to legalize cannabis via the legislative process rather than by a voter referendum. It’s important because it shows the will of the people is moving this long contentious issue to legal status. It’s where it should be. Should have happened years ago.
New Jersey to Legalize Marijuana — State Congress May Be Voting On Recreational Marijuana Very Soon
New Jersey Senate President Steven Sweeney has the votes needed to get a recreational cannabis bill passed. This piece of legislation would also expand the state’s medical marijuana program.
However, the specifics of the new bill remain unknown as it still needs to be drafted.
In the State Senate, there are currently 25 Democrats and 15 Republicans. In the General Assembly, there are 55 Democrats and 26 Republicans. Democrats are historically the party to be in favor of marijuana legalization so it is no surprise that a blue state is the next promising candidate to end prohibition.
An Expansion of Medical Marijuana
Recently, the state’s medicinal marijuana program has expanded under the watch of current Governor, Phil Murphy.
The Governor signed an executive order to that expanded the list of medical marijuana patients from 10,000 to 25,000.
While this is indeed a milestone for cannabis rights, New Jersey’s medical marijuana program has a long way to go. Murphy recently compared his state’s progress with that of Michigan and Arizona.
“The program in Michigan, a state with a similar population to New Jersey, currently serves 218,000 patients, and the program in Arizona, a state with a smaller population than New Jersey, serves over 136,000 patients.”
What Do the People of New Jersey Think?
Currently, 62% of residents in New Jersey are voting in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana. Persons between ages 18 to 34 are in overwhelming support with 90% in favor of ending prohibition. 5% are undecided as of August 22nd, 2018.
The numbers have increased 3% when compared to polls earlier polls. A survey conducted earlier this year estimated 59% for marijuana legalization. In mid-September of 2017, that number sat at only 48% with a majority opposed or undecided.
Senate President Sweeney and Governor Murphy are willing to push for change on the marijuana issue in their home state.
Governor Murphy presented the idea that 25% tax on products containing marijuana should be added, however, Sweeney has rejected the idea on the grounds that it would push people to keep using the black market.
While the bill’s specifics are still in the drafting process, action will be taken soo.
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